Tribalism

Tribalism

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Tribalism


I.

My sister recently put a map of the world in her bedroom, where she dreams always of being chased.

Warfare is the greatest affair of state, the basis of life and death, the Tao of survival and extinction. It must be thoroughly pondered and analyzed.

If you want to succeed in battle, act as if deranged. 1

I overheard two women arguing. One of them was me, in a later life. The other was God. My sister pushes her dream away and we'll call her a mystic; her lived reality defers to the visions, and details of where we'll live, how we'll earn a living, or who is at the door sink into the background. If creatures are helpless in a world of flags and fairies, we can break tyrants with our fists. Why wake up from that vision? If I could remember, I would never return to sunburn, rental cars, boy scout leaders, garbage, greasy hair, no water in the desert, cold nights of sweat and gleaning.

Trust me. Spring the trap - a package with an umbilical cord, ties straining. Mourning doves and the sound of birds and rapids. The wind pushes the river backwards, completing the cycle.

Before night fell into your lap you stared blankly at the traffic light on the corner wondering, why consult the Book of Changes? Every sign you need is right here: fire trucks a staple on brook street, power lines buzzing overhead like soldiers of fortune. The planets align in your seventh house, poking feebly at an electromagnetic field.

So if I ever say anything I'm lying to you. Feel better or worse, see if I care. March toward madness, in the evening we swore up and down to stay alive. Foundry the boundary down to the last gravedigger. Morning or evening times are unimportant; don't live to compete, but fight when you must for a better world. We are all singers and mad and we make less and less money every year. Perhaps you care about all this loss, heaped onto your plate like steaming eggs on an English. Further along and we come to a crossing, where I found you waiting for me and left.

Pretend you have come to a crossing. Not a fork in the yellow wood but a good city intersection, with traffic and manholes and strangers not particularly watching.

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II.

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1. Sun Tzu, The Art of War
2 Sun Tzu, The Art of War
3 Benjamin Bennett, Goethe's Theory of Poetry
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